10 Movies and TV Shows Like ‘The Hunger Games’

While fans of The Hunger Games await the new new Hunger Games film from Lionsgate and Suzanne Collins’ forthcoming fifth novel in the saga (titled The Hunger Games: Sunrise on the Reaping), there are a myriad of movies and TV shows that volunteer as tribute to fill the void.

Whether seeking stories about similar dystopian worlds, young protagonists trying to survive amid hardships or action-packed adventures with a little bit of romance à la Katniss, Peeta and Gale, audiences can find satisfaction in films and TV shows that have similarities to The Hunger Games franchise.

From movies based on best-selling books like Divergent and The Maze Runner to international hit Squid Game, exploring a new kind of deadly arena and a viewing guilty pleasure, The Hunger Games fans may find that the odds are in their favor of finding something that resembles the four-film franchise.

Below, The Hollywood Reporter takes a look at 10 films and TV shows that offer similarities to The Hunger Games. THR also put together a definitive ranking of the films, including The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes prequel. 

'Divergent'

Shailene Woodley, Theo James in 'Divergent'

From left: Shailene Woodley and Theo James in 'Divergent.'

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Divergent was a dystopian franchise that shortly followed the release of the first Hunger Games film and shared a variety of similarities with the Panem world. Based on Veronica Roth’s trilogy of books first released in 2011, the films center on protagonist Beatrice “Tris” Prior (Shailene Woodley), who lives in a post-apocalyptic dystopian Chicago. Throughout DivergentInsurgent, and Allegiant, society is divided into five factions — Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful) and Erudite (the intelligent). After choosing to leave her family and transfer to the Dauntless faction, Tris learns more about herself and the dangerous secrets her society is trying to keep hidden. Then, despite finding herself in danger, a blooming romance also takes place. In addition to Woodley, the films star Theo James and Kate Winslet.

'The Maze Runner'

Dylan O'Brien in 'The Maze Runner.'

Dylan O'Brien in 'The Maze Runner.'

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Also adapted from bestselling book trilogy of the same name by James Dashner, 2014’s Maze Runner film starred Dylan O’Brien and was directed by Wes Ball. The dystopian science fiction story tells a similar survival narrative as The Hunger Games, with young protagonists left stranded and forced to survive. After teen Thomas (O’Brien) finds himself at the center of a giant labyrinth with no memory of his previous life, he and the other youths are forced to survive and find a way to escape the maze. The Maze Runner film was followed by Scorch Trials (2015) and The Death Cure (2018).  

'Battle Royale'

Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Sayaka Ikeda in the 2000 film 'Battle Royale.'

Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda and Sayaka Ikeda in 'Battle Royale.'

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The 2000 film Battle Royale featured a similar premise to The Hunger Games, in which ninth graders are sent to a deserted island and left to survive under dangerous circumstances. Despite being provided with weapons, a map and food, each child has an explosive collar fitted around their neck. If they break a rule, the collar explodes. Like The Hunger Games seeking a sole tribute, the young protagonists in Battle Royale have to kill each other to be the last one standing, which ultimately lets them leave the island.

'Lord of the Flies'

Twins Jonathan Heaps, Alan Heaps in 'Lord of the Flies' (1963).

Twins Jonathan and Alan Heaps in 'Lord of the Flies.'

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Another book adaptation, the classic 1954 William Golding novel of the same name, Lord of the Flies tells a similar story of survival with young protagonists. After their plane crashes and leaves them stranded them on a remote island, a group of young boys must figure out how to survive. Though not a direct comparison, the story offers similar consequences and a fight to stay hopeful and remain alive like Katniss and others in the Hunger Games stories.

'Squid Game'

Squid Game

'Squid Game'

NOH JUHAN/NETFLIX

Rather than compete to be named the victor tribute, Netflix’s Squid Game has contestants fighting for money. In the Netflix series, individuals struggling with poverty or financial situations are invited to compete each other in kids games with a deadly twist. Despite having different motives, the competition resembles that of The Hunger Games‘ dangerous arena and life or death consquences.

'The Society'

The Society

'The Society'

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Though Netflix’s The Society only received one season, the series shared similarities with The Hunger GamesThe Society takes place in a town where all the adults disappear without warning, leaving the teenagers to fend for themselves and create a new town. Things take a darker turn amid conflicts and threats which could impact the young protagonists’ chance of survival. Once again a group of young protagonists, like in The Hunger Games, are forced to survive on their own.

'Silo'

Rebecca Ferguson and Avi Nash in Apple TV+’s Silo.

Rebecca Ferguson and Avi Nash in 'Silo.'

In Apple TV+’s post-apocalyptic series starring Rebecca Ferguson, people live in a community like The Hunger Games‘ districts, only this community exists in a giant underground silo. In the silo is a society full of regulations designed to supposedly protect everyone. However, when the sheriff breaks a cardinal rule and people begin dying mysteriously, an engineer (Ferguson) begins discovering secrets about the silo. The story features similarities to The Hunger Games‘ Capitol, which attempts to present itself as a savior to the districts. But Katniss soon learns the dark secrets of President Snow and the dangerous regulations and way of life he and the Capitol are trying to uphold.

'The Handmaid's Tale'

The Handmaids Tale Safe 510

'The Handmaid's Tale'

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For those seeking something akin to Katniss leading the resistance, look no further than Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The dark dystopian series based on Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name, centers on a totalitarian society that has subjected fertile women into sexual servitude. Like Katniss, Elisabeth Moss’s Offred/June is the series’ female heroine, who is forced to be a Handmaid as Katniss is forced to compete in the Hunger Games. However, both fight back against an oppressive system.

'The Purge'

The Forever Purge

'The Forever Purge'

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The Purge may be a horror film, but with a storyline centered on a deadly event taking place every year, it’s not hard to see the underlying similarities with The Hunger Games. In the film, which also spawned a franchise including The Forever Purge, pictured above, the U.S. government allows 12-hour periods of time in which all illegal activity is legal. During this time, things are prone to become dangerous and deadly for many, leaving others to fight back and try to survive. The storyline can mirror that of The Hunger Games’ competition, in which tributes are forced to fight to the death in battles that also serve as spectacle.

'The 100'

Eliza Taylor and Christopher Larkin in 'The 100.'

Eliza Taylor and Christopher Larkin in 'The 100.'

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For fans of young protagonists in a dystopian world, The 100 is worth a watch. The CW show, which lasted for seven seasons, takes place in a time when it has been nearly 100 years since Earth was devastated by a nuclear apocalypse. The only survivors are the inhabitants of 12 international space stations. Years later, the leaders of space habitat the Ark exile a group of 100 juvenile prisoners to the Earth’s surface to test whether it’s habitable despite no one having set foot on the planet in nearly a century. With the characters attempting to be free from control of their leaders and forced to survive on their own, the story may seem like a Hunger Games-inspired scenario.

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